Friday, March 21, 2014

Colloquium I: The Calvinist and Non-Calvinist

Non-Calvinist Christian: Christ died for every human being in history, past, present and future.

Calvinist Christian: That’s impossible. If Jesus died for them, they would be saved. It doesn’t make sense that Christ paid the price for their sins but when they die they have to go pay for their sins. Jesus only died for those who get saved.

Non-Calvinist Christian: So you’re saying that if Jesus died for them they would automatically be saved?

Calvinist: Well, they still have to believe the gospel, no one is automatically saved.

Non-Calvinist: Wait. Earlier you argued that if someone goes to hell it’s because Jesus did not die for them but now it is because they did not believe. You have two answers here. Which is it?

Calvinist: What I mean is that it doesn’t make sense, any rational sense, for God to suffer for someone’s sins if they are not going to believe on Christ. God doesn’t waste himself like that. Therefore, it stands to reason he only died for those who will believe, the elect.

Non-Calvinist: Right, God never pours out his love, mercy and grace in an overflowing manner. He isn’t like that at all. He’s more like you, a human rationalist, who only does what makes sense because God is like that. God wouldn’t waste his love, mercy and grace on just anyone, only those who will receive it. After all, we have absolutely no example of God going to such extents for anyone in the Bible

Calvinist: Now you’re twisting my words.

Non-Calvinist: No, I am applying them and agreeing with their conclusion, at least rhetorically, to make a point of the absurdity of your claim.

Calvinist: No you’re not.

Non-Calvinist: So you agree, God does in fact extend himself to those who he knows will reject him, is this correct?

Calvinist: Yes, sometimes, but not in the case of Jesus dying for people’s sins.

Non-Calvinist: And this exception to the seemingly obvious over-extending nature of God is because why, again?

Calvinist: Because it does not make sense. God wouldn’t waste dying for those who would not accept his gift. That would mean he suffered for nothing.

Non-Calvinist: I thought we just covered this. You agreed God does this in the Bible, extending his grace over and over to people who do not receive it, so your argument that “it does not make sense” is gone. You cannot argue that anymore because you just agreed there are some examples of this in the Bible.

Calvinist: Yeah, but what about the elect in Ephesians, it says God chose who would be saved, doesn't it?

Non-Calvinist: No it doesn’t. It actually says nothing about God choosing who would be in Christ, rather that “in him” (Jesus) God chose us (those who believe on Christ) to be made holy and blameless. He chose the means of our salvation, Christ. A little patience with the sentence structure would help you stop making that erroneous claim.

Calvinist: Are you sure?

Non-Calvinist: Feel free to take your Greek NT with the English translation to any University Greek or English Professor and ask him/her to diagram the sentence. You’d be amazed how wrong the Calvinist claim is. By the way, don’t feel bad, few Calvinists have ever taken the time to diagram the sentences in Ephesians, never mind accept the explications of the diagram on their exegesis and theology.

Calvinist: Hmmm…wait, listen. If Jesus died for the sins of people who don’t believe, then why do they have to pay for their sins? That still does not make sense to me.

Non-Calvinist: Let me ask you a question. What was required for you to be saved, for Jesus to die for your sins, only, or for Jesus to pay for your sins and you believe that?

Calvinist: Oh, I had to believe.

Non-Calvinist: Okay, you just resolved your own quandary. People who do not accept the gift, don’t have it applied to their account. Hence, they must suffer for their own sins.

Remember, you had to believe didn’t you? Jesus dying for your sins didn’t automatically save you. You still had to believe, right? And for a reason. The reason is that is where and how this sacrifice by Jesus is applied to your account.

Calvinist: (Pause….pause……pause….) Wow, wow!


Don Johnson said...

If only it were that simple! (Getting a Calvinist to say 'Wow', I mean!) Instead, they will start calling you names (Semi-Pelagian, Pelagian, etc.). It seems to me that when the rhetoric descends to name calling the argument is lost.

Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Alex A. Guggenheim said...

I suspect many, "wows" occur, however, it usually does not leave their brain as defense mode takes over and as you said, getting them to say, "wow", is another thing. Thanks for the observation.